Albona Ristorante Istriano

★★★★★
  • 545 Francisco St

    San Francisco, CA 94133

    Map & Directions
  • 415-441-1040

4.8 20
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Really interesting cuisine presented with care and pride and concern for our enjoyment. Comfortable surroundings. (Had it not been for the woman at the next table saying "Chay PanEE Chay PANEE" it would have been perfect!)

3
★★★★★

Really interesting cuisine presented with care and pride and concern for our enjoyment. Comfortable surroundings. (Had it not been for the woman at the next table saying "Chay PanEE Chay PANEE" it would have been perfect!)

Pros: Soft, nice atmosphere; interesting food

Cons: I found none

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My husband and I have loved Albona for its intimate setting and wonderful food/wine. We have spent 3 new years eves there. Recently,Michael took over and I can not say how pleased we are! The food and service are better than ever. A true gem

2
★★★★★

My husband and I have loved Albona for its intimate setting and wonderful food/wine. We have spent 3 new years eves there. Recently,Michael took over and I can not say how pleased we are! The food and service are better than ever. A true gem

Pros: intimate,you can talk

Cons: none

from CitySearch
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I couldn't believe how amazing the food is here. They offer Free Valet, which rocks... the food is so good. The service is excellent. The prices are a little high, but still reasonable.

5
★★★★★

I couldn't believe how amazing the food is here. They offer Free Valet, which rocks... the food is so good. The service is excellent. The prices are a little high, but still reasonable.

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I've been coming to Albona for the past 8 years and it never dissapoints. The food and service are simply top notch. This is a great place to go on a date, to celebrate something special, or just enjoy a teriffic meal. Allow me to make a recommendation--try the pork loin and strudel. The insalada is amazing too. Decent wine list as well.

2
★★★★★

I've been coming to Albona for the past 8 years and it never dissapoints. The food and service are simply top notch. This is a great place to go on a date, to celebrate something special, or just enjoy a teriffic meal. Allow me to make a recommendation--try the pork loin and strudel. The insalada is amazing too. Decent wine list as well.

from CitySearch
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Combine exquisite Italian cuisine with intelligent service like Michael Bruno, and you've got Albona. If you appreciate an intimate environment with wonderful personal service and fantastic food, then this is your place. We let Michael take the wheel for our food and wine and he did not let us down. Rabbit, veal, and pork where all amazing...a feast for all the senses.

2
★★★★★

Combine exquisite Italian cuisine with intelligent service like Michael Bruno, and you've got Albona. If you appreciate an intimate environment with wonderful personal service and fantastic food, then this is your place. We let Michael take the wheel for our food and wine and he did not let us down. Rabbit, veal, and pork where all amazing...a feast for all the senses.

Pros: service, food

Cons: none

from CitySearch
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This is one of the best restaurants that I have eaten at in years. I travel alot for work and have the privledge of trying a lot of great restaurants all over the country and Albona is now one of my top 3 restaurants in the entire country. It has excellent food, amazing service and tons of personality.

2
★★★★★

This is one of the best restaurants that I have eaten at in years. I travel alot for work and have the privledge of trying a lot of great restaurants all over the country and Albona is now one of my top 3 restaurants in the entire country. It has excellent food, amazing service and tons of personality.

Pros: Amazing food, great service and tons of personality

from CitySearch
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I have tried this restaurant several times now and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Each time, I have enjoyed the exceptional service and the unusual food combinations. The Risotto with Prosciutto & Saffron is quickly becoming a new addiction! I found the atmosphere relaxing with the noise level low enough to have a wonderful conversation with tablemates or the friendly staff. I have tried both the pork loin as well as the lamb and found the meat melted in my mouth and the various flavors tickled all of my taste buds. What is there not to like about this hidden gem of a restaurant!

2
★★★★★

I have tried this restaurant several times now and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Each time, I have enjoyed the exceptional service and the unusual food combinations. The Risotto with Prosciutto & Saffron is quickly becoming a new addiction! I found the atmosphere relaxing with the noise level low enough to have a wonderful conversation with tablemates or the friendly staff. I have tried both the pork loin as well as the lamb and found the meat melted in my mouth and the various flavors tickled all of my taste buds. What is there not to like about this hidden gem of a restaurant!

Pros: GREAT food, Awesome service

from CitySearch
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The food was unusual and very good. I highly recommend the veal shank, the braised sauerkraut w/homemade pork sausage, the calamari, the pan-fried gnocchi and the ravioli with butter/sage sauce. The food was heavier, more Germanic, than typical Italian food but unusual in it's mixture of Italian classics like pasta with German heartiness like sauerkraut and sausage. Service was wonderful - owner's nephew was very attentive and even brought us a complimentary plate of pepperonata for the person at the table who didn't care for seafood and so, couldn't eat any of the appetizers the rest of us had ordered. We had a bottle of the Primitivo wine, highly recommend. For jaded foodies who've tasted everything twice I really suggest a trip to the friendlyl, comfortable, hearty Albona. Enjoy!

2
★★★★★

The food was unusual and very good. I highly recommend the veal shank, the braised sauerkraut w/homemade pork sausage, the calamari, the pan-fried gnocchi and the ravioli with butter/sage sauce. The food was heavier, more Germanic, than typical Italian food but unusual in it's mixture of Italian classics like pasta with German heartiness like sauerkraut and sausage. Service was wonderful - owner's nephew was very attentive and even brought us a complimentary plate of pepperonata for the person at the table who didn't care for seafood and so, couldn't eat any of the appetizers the rest of us had ordered. We had a bottle of the Primitivo wine, highly recommend. For jaded foodies who've tasted everything twice I really suggest a trip to the friendlyl, comfortable, hearty Albona. Enjoy!

from CitySearch
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The ambiance was cozy and romatic. Servic was attentive and Bruno was fun to chat with. But when the food came out the portion was less a handful, my friend Veal Shank was almost just shank. I HAVE LET THIS GO BY FOR A YEAR, but still in my thoughts dinning around the city, it just had to said. how can a great restaurant let a plate like that slip out of the kitchen....

2
★★★★☆

The ambiance was cozy and romatic. Servic was attentive and Bruno was fun to chat with. But when the food came out the portion was less a handful, my friend Veal Shank was almost just shank. I HAVE LET THIS GO BY FOR A YEAR, but still in my thoughts dinning around the city, it just had to said. how can a great restaurant let a plate like that slip out of the kitchen....

Pros: service, ambiance, Bruno

Cons: kitchen manager, portion

from CitySearch
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WHAT A FIND! WE ENJOYED EVERY MOMENT HERE FROM START TO FINISH. BRUNO WORKS THE ROOM AND KNOWS WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR DINING. TRUST HIS SUGGESTIONS AND YOU WILL HAVE A MEAL THAT YOU WILL NEVER FORGET. EVERYTHING THAT WAS SERVED TO US WAS COOKED TO PERFECTION AND WE LOVED IT ALL. WE'LL VISIT ALBONO'S FROM NOW ON EACH TIME WE ARE IN TOWN. YOU SHOULD TOO!

2
★★★★★

WHAT A FIND! WE ENJOYED EVERY MOMENT HERE FROM START TO FINISH. BRUNO WORKS THE ROOM AND KNOWS WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR DINING. TRUST HIS SUGGESTIONS AND YOU WILL HAVE A MEAL THAT YOU WILL NEVER FORGET. EVERYTHING THAT WAS SERVED TO US WAS COOKED TO PERFECTION AND WE LOVED IT ALL. WE'LL VISIT ALBONO'S FROM NOW ON EACH TIME WE ARE IN TOWN. YOU SHOULD TOO!

from CitySearch
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We went to the restaurant with the highest expextations. Originally from Europe we have pretty high expectations when it comes to the italian food. We had a rabbitt, veal and a seafood stew. For appts we picked a sausage and an asparagus soup. Appetizers were fine. The rabitt seafood and the veal were both totally overcooked, dry with woody texture. Portions were very small (more bones than meaty). Heartburn is to be expected. If you do not care for polenta (although well prepared) do not bother to come. Owner is friendly but little snobish. Service was excellent.

1
★★☆☆☆

We went to the restaurant with the highest expextations. Originally from Europe we have pretty high expectations when it comes to the italian food. We had a rabbitt, veal and a seafood stew. For appts we picked a sausage and an asparagus soup. Appetizers were fine. The rabitt seafood and the veal were both totally overcooked, dry with woody texture. Portions were very small (more bones than meaty). Heartburn is to be expected. If you do not care for polenta (although well prepared) do not bother to come. Owner is friendly but little snobish. Service was excellent.

Pros: great parking, excellent service, good atmosphere

Cons: overcooked dry food, cold temperature

from CitySearch
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Great place - real gem! This is one of better restaurants that I visited. Excellent food, ambience, service - and owner Bruno will make you to feel like at home. Romantic date or just to have fun with few friends go there. This place is not for snobs but for us just regular guys who appricate good people around us. Bruno will not put the clock on your table and look that you load the food into your stomach, pay and be gone - you will enjoy your time there... go for it!

2
★★★★★

Great place - real gem! This is one of better restaurants that I visited. Excellent food, ambience, service - and owner Bruno will make you to feel like at home. Romantic date or just to have fun with few friends go there. This place is not for snobs but for us just regular guys who appricate good people around us. Bruno will not put the clock on your table and look that you load the food into your stomach, pay and be gone - you will enjoy your time there... go for it!

Pros: Ambience, Free Valet, Food

Cons: Only One Restaurant, needs one in San Jose

from CitySearch
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Once you have sampled Bruno's authentic menu, you will understand how this little gem has managed to survive on word of mouth.

Near Columbus and Francisco parking can be horendous, the free valet is a nice amenity.

Now for food: Again, Bruno nand his staff brought it all together. The food, stories, and attention to detail were top notch. The veal shank was tender, fall off the bone delicious. The stuff pork tnderloin was an infusion of wonderful flavors. For desert: Apple Strudel in true european style, not too sweet.

For anyone who has enjoyed european dining, you MUST try Albona.

Note: While not good for large groups, dining room may be reserved exclusively.

2
★★★★★

Once you have sampled Bruno's authentic menu, you will understand how this little gem has managed to survive on word of mouth.

Near Columbus and Francisco parking can be horendous, the free valet is a nice amenity.

Now for food: Again, Bruno nand his staff brought it all together. The food, stories, and attention to detail were top notch. The veal shank was tender, fall off the bone delicious. The stuff pork tnderloin was an infusion of wonderful flavors. For desert: Apple Strudel in true european style, not too sweet.

For anyone who has enjoyed european dining, you MUST try Albona.

Note: While not good for large groups, dining room may be reserved exclusively.

from CitySearch
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Finally I have found the only authentic Italian restaurant in town and I am Italian,moved yera few months ago ! Great food from the north east of the region.I loved the calamari ripieni (filled),fried gnocchi and fish.I also had to try the rabbit,the best I ever had !! the owner is exceptional,he has a lot of funny stories to tell,specially the story of his life ! don't forget to ask how his "nonna"grandma, used to let him try the wine (he will show it to you) !
I fell in love with this place.Finally someone that has passion and love for what it does. I was astonished ! as an Italian I recommend not to even take into consideration the negative review about Albona !

2
★★★★★

Finally I have found the only authentic Italian restaurant in town and I am Italian,moved yera few months ago ! Great food from the north east of the region.I loved the calamari ripieni (filled),fried gnocchi and fish.I also had to try the rabbit,the best I ever had !! the owner is exceptional,he has a lot of funny stories to tell,specially the story of his life ! don't forget to ask how his "nonna"grandma, used to let him try the wine (he will show it to you) !
I fell in love with this place.Finally someone that has passion and love for what it does. I was astonished ! as an Italian I recommend not to even take into consideration the negative review about Albona !

Pros: food, ambience, romantic

from CitySearch
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Owner's greeting and description of items makes for special feeling. We had savory appetizers and salads. My date had a London broil of lamb and I had the Stracotte of veal. All delicate but robust in flavor. Wine advise from Bruno was accurate and not overly expensive.The desert Strussel was a bit dry: would benefit from a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

2
★★★★★

Owner's greeting and description of items makes for special feeling. We had savory appetizers and salads. My date had a London broil of lamb and I had the Stracotte of veal. All delicate but robust in flavor. Wine advise from Bruno was accurate and not overly expensive.The desert Strussel was a bit dry: would benefit from a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Pros: service, Flavors, Value

from CitySearch
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My husband and I had a wonderful meal at Albona two weeks ago while visiting San Francisco from New Orleans, where we have no shortgage of first class restaurants. We were with 4 other friends one of whom recommended the restaurant. Chef Bruno greeted us like family, and indeed, dining in this small, cozy restaurant is like dining in someone's home. He explained the menu and Istrian food. We had a combination appetizer plate of gnocchi, ravioli and pasta streudel all of which were wonderful. The gnocchi was unlike any I've had before. The lamb, rabbit and veal shank were full of flavor. The table shared several desserts, enjoyed by all. And of course there was champagne, wine, port and finally cappucino. It was a memorable evening because of the food, the friends and the lovely Bruno Viscovi!

2
★★★★★

My husband and I had a wonderful meal at Albona two weeks ago while visiting San Francisco from New Orleans, where we have no shortgage of first class restaurants. We were with 4 other friends one of whom recommended the restaurant. Chef Bruno greeted us like family, and indeed, dining in this small, cozy restaurant is like dining in someone's home. He explained the menu and Istrian food. We had a combination appetizer plate of gnocchi, ravioli and pasta streudel all of which were wonderful. The gnocchi was unlike any I've had before. The lamb, rabbit and veal shank were full of flavor. The table shared several desserts, enjoyed by all. And of course there was champagne, wine, port and finally cappucino. It was a memorable evening because of the food, the friends and the lovely Bruno Viscovi!

Pros: cozy atmosphere, wonderful food, engaging host/chef

from CitySearch
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Valentine's Day menu, spectacular, heart-shaped gnocchi! Been twice and both times delighted by the menu and the service. The food in Istria is fantastic, just like this restaurant. Give the owner a break, he is doing things the way he wants and is having fun doing it. Every restaurant I've been to in Italy and Croatia (which is where Istria is) the owner acts the same-- it's called unpretentious and friendly.

2
★★★★★

Valentine's Day menu, spectacular, heart-shaped gnocchi! Been twice and both times delighted by the menu and the service. The food in Istria is fantastic, just like this restaurant. Give the owner a break, he is doing things the way he wants and is having fun doing it. Every restaurant I've been to in Italy and Croatia (which is where Istria is) the owner acts the same-- it's called unpretentious and friendly.

from CitySearch
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Well, it's not a 10 but its not below a 5 either. There are too many restaurants in SF to go back. Once I have tried them all I shall return. The owner is nice and tells you all kinds of stories however, a little to "intense" for me. The food is better than average but not fabulous...stick to the pasta or risottos, the meat is gamy. The atmosphere is cute...only about 10 tables and the wait staff is very cordial. OH ya and free valet parking. BTW, The bread is crap...I thought Italians were good with breads??

2
★★★★☆

Well, it's not a 10 but its not below a 5 either. There are too many restaurants in SF to go back. Once I have tried them all I shall return. The owner is nice and tells you all kinds of stories however, a little to "intense" for me. The food is better than average but not fabulous...stick to the pasta or risottos, the meat is gamy. The atmosphere is cute...only about 10 tables and the wait staff is very cordial. OH ya and free valet parking. BTW, The bread is crap...I thought Italians were good with breads??

Pros: rissoto, atmosphere, free valet parking

Cons: owner, bread, rabbit

from CitySearch
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The best meal I've had in San Francisco. As a citizen of this fine city, I am constantly on the look-out for good food off the beaten path.

This place is magnificent. I highly reccommend the Gnocchi Apetizer and the Ravioli in Sage Butter sauce. The staff is quite entertaining, full of jokes and good energy - obviously spawned from the effervescent presence of the owner, Bruno - who makes it a point to speak with every guest.

Other favorites are the Fettucini in Red Sauce - simply perfect - and the Pasta Strudel.

2
★★★★★

The best meal I've had in San Francisco. As a citizen of this fine city, I am constantly on the look-out for good food off the beaten path.

This place is magnificent. I highly reccommend the Gnocchi Apetizer and the Ravioli in Sage Butter sauce. The staff is quite entertaining, full of jokes and good energy - obviously spawned from the effervescent presence of the owner, Bruno - who makes it a point to speak with every guest.

Other favorites are the Fettucini in Red Sauce - simply perfect - and the Pasta Strudel.

Pros: Good Service, Private, Free Valet

Cons: Not Cheap

from CitySearch
.

On our first night of our first visit to San Francisco, my husband & I went to the delightful little Albona Ristorante. We were charmed by Bruno, the owner, who made us feel comfortable & welcome, and generously explained his homeland's cuisine, which was new to us and interesting, although not so different from other northern Italian regional cooking, really--but distinctive. The food was consistently delicious, the wine recommendation fit well, and the service was excellent--warm yet professional. No overwrought entrees constructed like tinkertoys on the plate or ostentatious food combinations. It almost felt as if we were in Europe, but maybe that's just how San Francisco feels. Altogether we had a wonderful evening in this unpretentious but excellent restaurant. It was the perfect way to start our stay in a great city.

2
★★★★★

On our first night of our first visit to San Francisco, my husband & I went to the delightful little Albona Ristorante. We were charmed by Bruno, the owner, who made us feel comfortable & welcome, and generously explained his homeland's cuisine, which was new to us and interesting, although not so different from other northern Italian regional cooking, really--but distinctive. The food was consistently delicious, the wine recommendation fit well, and the service was excellent--warm yet professional. No overwrought entrees constructed like tinkertoys on the plate or ostentatious food combinations. It almost felt as if we were in Europe, but maybe that's just how San Francisco feels. Altogether we had a wonderful evening in this unpretentious but excellent restaurant. It was the perfect way to start our stay in a great city.

Pros: Quiet, warm ambience, Moderate price, Good food

from CitySearch
 

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